Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bobby & the Radiators


From Times Dispatch:

Hitting the road to play for home
BY BILL CRAIG
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Nov 17, 2005

Aug. 29 has always been a special day for Radiators guitarist-vocalist Dave Malone.
It's his birthday and the date The Beatles played their last show. This year, it was also the day Hurricane Katrina hit Malone's hometown of New Orleans, leaving 3 feet of mud and "brown and green, fuzzy, goopy stuff" growing in Malone's house.

The good news for Malone is that his wife, the former economic development director for the city New Orleans, was well aware of the havoc that a hurricane could wreak on the couple's hometown and insisted that they evacuate well head of the storm.

"She told me to grab the essentials, which is the wrong thing to tell a guitar player," Malone explained over the phone from his mother-in-law's Louisiana home. "So she ended up with 20 guitars and no underwear."

But Malone had the presence of mind to salvage one other key item.
"We have a 28-foot touring truck that our road gear stays on. I told our road crew to get the truck out of town."

Even though band members have temporarily settled in Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota, the survival of that truck has allowed the band, now in its 26th year of knocking out a fabulous blend of New Orleans funk and rock, to continue taking its music to the people.
The fall itinerary, though, isn't exactly what was planned.

"Ironically, we had decided within the last year to play more at home because we had been playing 99 percent of the time on the road. . . . I had booked south Florida, and Katrina canceled those shows. The very next week we were going to be in New Orleans. I had to scurry around like a little rat trying to get new gigs. We lost a good bit of income. We got kicked in the teeth pretty bad."

The small sliver of a silver lining in the huge storm is the opportunity the guys have had to team up with different musicians in the past few weeks. Malone and Ed "Zeke" Volker played Cyril Neville's birthday party show last month in Houston with members of the Neville Brothers and New Orleans piano legend Henry Butler. Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead joined the band for post-Katrina shows in San Francisco.

"Bob sat in for two nights at the Great American Music Hall," Malone said. "The third night we played under a false name in Mill Valley. He came out for the whole night. It's always a kick to play with Bob."

Malone and friends also are receiving something in the post-Katrina weeks that they had not expected -- requests to play hurricane benefit shows.

"We've been bombarded with requests to play benefits for New Orleans flood victims. I tried to explain to people that what they were not getting was that we were flood victims. So what we tried to do was coordinate at every one of our shows was a means for people to contribute. The gate money we had to get because we're a business," he said. "I try to set it up so that people who want to give to the New Orleans Musician Clinic, for instance, would have the means to do that at our shows."

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